Tag:Brad Ziegler
Posted on: August 12, 2009 3:06 am

Shaping the 2010 Roster for the Oakland Athletics

Players That Will Be Free Agents Following the Season:
Of the following players, I'd only attempt to bring back Adam Kennedy. Like Bobby Crosby, Kennedy can play every infield position. Unlike Bobby Crosby, Kennedy can actually hit the ball. Kennedy is having a career year for the A's, but I don't think he'll be in that high of demand on the open market. With second basemen such as Mark DeRosa , Felipe Lopez , Orlando Hudson , and Placido Polanco on the market, Kennedy is going to have a hard time getting a starting gig. If the A's could resign him to a one year deal for perhaps 1.5 Million with a club option (2.5 million) for 2011, that would be ideal. Looking at the other guys here, Bobby Crosby has an ego problem and needs to go. The A's would get a "type B" compensation pick if they offered arbitration to Justin Duchscherer, but I am inclined to believe Duchscherer would accept which would bring him back to Oakland for around 5.5-6 million on a one year deal. It's too big of a risk imo. As for Garciaparra, while he can still hit, he can no longer play the field. Let him retire.

The Following Players Will Be Arbitration Eligible Next Season:
*Devine is 1 day short of service time to be eligible. Since he didn't play this year and was hurt, I'm not sure what happens here. He was already a super 2 player. I'm wondering if he'll be a super super 2 or if the he'll enter arbitration. If he enters arbitration, he'll make about 1 million next season. If not, the A's will pay him league minimum.

Of the other players listed above, the only guy I would non-tender is Santiago Casilla. There is no point paying him a million dollars or more to not produce. If the A's still want to sign him afterwards for a lesser price, so be it, but he shouldn't be given the option to enter arbitration. Assuming the other players are kept, following the 60-80-60 scaling, Cust will make about 5 million, Wuertz about 2 million, while Davis, Devine, and Eveland will make around 1 million.

What does this mean?

The A's have a base salary next year, not including arbitration players, of 19.25 million. Adding in the five players above, that raises payroll to 29.25 million. If the A's were to have the same opening day payroll as they did this season, they'd have 33 million to spend on the open market. It's not likely they'll spend it, but it's worth noting. Also worth noting is that another 18 million (from the contracts of Chavez and Ellis) come off the books after 2010 giving the A's a ton of money to spend on their current team.

Now what does the Roster look like next year? Let's take a look at positions...

Catchers: Kurt Suzuki , Landon Powell , Josh Donaldson , Max Stassi

Suzuki has the job locked and has been one of the A's key producers. The only way he loses his job is if a freak injury happened. Landon Powell has been a solid backup all year long, both offensively and defensively. I often wish Bob Geren would play Powell and sit Suzuki more often as it would probably help the ballclub all together, but it will never happen. Donaldson is posting good numbers in AA and will be in AAA to start next season. I don't know what the long term plan is with him though as the A's catchers on their major league roster are already very young. As for Stassi, he's the future. Just drafted out of Yuba City high, Stassi has yet to be signed, but if he does, he could be the A's starting catcher in four to five years. The team has until August 17th to sign him.

First Basemen: Tommy Everidge , Daric Barton , Sean Doolittle , Chris Carter

Carter is obviously the future of the ballclub, but there is no point rushing him up to the major leagues. Carter is guaranteed to be the Texas League MVP this season and has a chance at the league Triple Crown. He will start next season in AAA. Everidge has been decent since taking over everyday for Jason Giambi, though nothing spectacular. He should get his opportunity to show what he has for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, the A's 2008 starting first basemen, Daric Barton, should also be in the mix for a job during spring training. It doesn't do any good sending Barton to AAA as the team probably doesn't want to take at bats away from Chris Carter. At the very least, Barton should be held as a reserve, the same way Nomar Garciaparra is being held now. Sean Doolittle has been hurt for most of this season, but should get an opportunity to prove himself as well next year. It's basically a logjam of mediocre players until Carter shows up.

Second Basemen: Mark Ellis , Eric Patterson , Adrian Cardenas , Jemile Weeks

Ellis' job is locked at the start of next season, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him moved halfway through the year next season. Eric Patterson was promised by Bob Geren that he was going to get every opportunity to succeed after Matt Holliday was traded, only for Patterson to be sent down after receiving minimal playing time. Adrian Cardenas tore the cover off of pitches in AA this year, but has struggled a lot since being promoted to Sacramento. Meanwhile, 2008 first round draft choice, Jemile Weeks, just keeps hitting the ball and could leapfrog Cardenas should he continue to struggle at the start of next season.

Shortstop: Cliff Pennington , Corey Wimberly , Grant Green

This is where the A's lack the most depth. Cliff Pennington is being given every opportunity to win the starting job for next year and has impressed so far in a short time frame. However, if his production falls off, I could see the A's turning to the free agent market. The A's let it be known that they might consider bringing back Orlando Cabrera . Other free agent options at the position include two former Athletics , Miguel Tejada and Marco Scutaro . The A's have Gregorio Petit at shortstop in Sacramento, but aren't keen on him playing everyday. Corey Wimberley is the shortstop in Midland, but he's made six error in 23 games at the position. Meanwhile, Grant Green, the A's first round selection this past year, has still yet to sign. Even if he did sign though, the soonest Green would reach the majors would be late 2011 or 2012.

Third Basemen: Eric Chavez , Brett Wallace, ?

I really don't want Brett Wallace to be "handed" the starting job at third base next year. Wallace is a good talent, but needs to work on his game both offensively and defensively. He's been just "okay" since arriving in Sacramento, but not great. I want a great hitter to emerge, not an average guy. If anyone can challenge Wallace for the job out of spring training it would probably be beneficial to the A's. The team cannot count on Eric Chavez being healthy, which is also why an Adam Kennedy resigning would make more sense. Let Wallace earn his way to the big leagues and supplant whoever we have instead of just handing him the spot like the team did with Daric Barton in 2008. Wallace was just drafted a year ago. There is no reason to rush him to the show either. This area needs to be addressed.

Left Fielders: Scott Hairston , Aaron Cunningham , Travis Buck

The A's aren't going to give up Sean Gallagher and Craig Italiano for a bench player. Hairston is here to be a permanent fixture for the A's and is under control through 2011. Cunningham will probably get some opportunities to play, but probably in right field rather than left. Travis Buck is in management's doghouse and I expect him to sit in AAA and rot, much the same way Brad Halsey did a few years back.

Center Fielders: Rajai Davis, Eric Patterson, Ryan Sweeney

I'm willing to give Rajai a chance as long as he keeps hitting and stealing bases. His play this year has been good so far. Eric Patterson is a player I can see the A's using in a backup role as he can play all outfield positions and second base. He'll probably never start though. Meanwhle Ryan Sweeney will probably start next season in right field again....for now.

Right Fielders: Ryan Sweeney, Aaron Cunningham, Travis Buck

Sweeney is a solid defender, but hits for far too little power to be a permanent fixture in right field. He belongs either in centerfield or on the bench which means the A's will soon have to choose between Sweeney and Rajai Davis. Cunningham has 20 home run pop, but has yet to hit for average at the major league level. If he finds his swing, Sweeney could be bumped elsewhere. Again Travis Buck is in the doghouse, so don't expect him to be called up anytime soon. There isn't any outfielder in AAA that I expect to be a significant factor next year, however, Midland has some solid producers in the outfield this year and they could make their way to Oakland by the second half of next season.

Designated Hitter: Jack Cust

There really isn't another position for him. He can't play first base and he's terrible in the outfield. Fortunately for him, no one else with terrible defense on the A's can mash so he has this job locked up. He has underperformed at all aspects of the game this season. Hopefully he'll bounce back next year though. The A's have him under control through 2011.

Starting Rotation: Dallas Braden , Brett Anderson , Trevor Cahill , Gio Gonzalez , Vin Mazzaro , James Simmons, Josh Outman , Clayton Mortensen

The A's will probably feature the same starting rotation next season as they did this year. Hopefully, their young pitchers will continue to develop and get better. Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez have really found their stuff as of late while Cahill and Mazzaro have struggled at times. Braden has been an achor at the front of the staff and as the veteran of the group, is under controll through 2013. James Simmons has had a rough year this season and will probably need to head back to the minors. Josh Outman, who performed well this season before undergoing Tommy John Surgery, may or may not be back next year. Clayton Mortensen needs more work as well, but could find himself in the mix later on.

Closer: Andrew Bailey , Joey Devine, Brad Ziegler

My assumption is that the closers role is Bailey's to lose. However, having him and Devine in the 8th and 9th inning makes for one scary combo.

2010 Top 10 Prospects

Note: My opinion only listed here
  1. 1B Chris Carter (pictured above)
  2. 3B Brett Wallace
  3. 2B Jemile Weeks
  4. OF Aaron Cunningham
  5. 2B Adrian Cardenas
  6. SS Grant Green
  7. RHP Michael Ynoa
  8. OF Grant Desme
  9. C Josh Donaldson
  10. OF Corey Brown
Best Hitter for Average: Adrian Cardenas
Best Power Hitter: Chris Carter
Best Strike Zone Discipline: Josh Donaldson
Fastest Baserunner: Corey Wimberly
Best Athlete: Rashun Dixon
Best Fastball: Henry Rodriguez
Best Curveball: Justin Marks
Best Slider: Henry Rodriguez
Best Changeup: Anthony Capra
Best Control: Mickey Storey
Best Defensive Catcher: Josh Donaldson
Best Defensive Infielder: Adrian Cardenas
Best Infield Arm: Dusty Coleman
Best Defensive Outfielder: Grant Desme
Best Outfield Arm: Shane Peterson

Posted on: May 11, 2009 2:08 am
Edited on: May 11, 2009 2:53 am

Sigh of Relief

A's Rookie Leads Majors Best Bullpen

Co-closer Joey Devine is out for year needing Tommy John surgery. The teams other Co-closer has been battling the flu for the past week and a half and their main set-up man has found himself on the 15 day disabled list. Yet despite the setbacks the Oakland A's have faced in regards to their bullpen, it has been the best in the majors.

A good bullpen is invaluable, especially for a team such as Oakland, which features three rookie pitchers in its starting rotation. The A's bullpen averages four innings per game, most in the majors, but features a league leading 2.73 bullpen era, 1.15 WHIP and batters are hitting just .207 off of Oakland relievers. All three of those statistics are best in the league.

The anchor of this bullpen so far has been rookie Andrew Bailey.

Bailey has overcome a lot to get to where he is today with the A's. After a promising sophomore year at Wagner, in which Bailey recorded 84 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched, he started to gain recognition as a top tier prospect by major league scouts. However, everything took a turn for the worse during Bailey's junior season as he suffered an elbow injury and was required to get Tommy John Surgery. The injury made it so Bailey only appeared in seven games during the season and his stock dropped in the 2005 draft. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round, but chose to continue his career at Wagner instead of going pro. He couldn't have made a better decision.

After spending 10 months of rehab, Bailey posted his best year yet at the college ranks posting a 2.03 era and striking out 53 batters in 41 innings pitched. Bailey finished college as Wagner's career strikeout leader and was selected by the Oakland A's in the 6th round of the 2006 draft. While Bailey spent his first two seasons in the A's minor league system as a starter, it wasn't until the middle of the 2008 season at AA Midland that that the A's started viewing Bailey as a reliever and developing him in that role.

Entering camp at the beginning of this season, Bailey wasn't guaranteed a roster spot on the A's. In fact, many thought Bailey didn't stand a chance at making the opening day roster considering Bailey hadn't pitched much above AA. However, with Brad Ziegler playing in the World Baseball Classic and Joey Devine battling injury, Bailey got his opportunity to pitch in many spring games and didn't disappoint. He featured a 0.66 era in 13.2 innings. The performance was too good for the A's to ignore and with Joey Devine starting the season on the disabled list, Bailey was named the last Oakland reliever on the 25-man roster.

Bailey's "stuff" is downright scary. He features a fastball that reaches up to 98 mph, a curveball, and a cutter that does its best impression of Mariano Rivera. So far this year, Bailey stands at 3-0, with a 1.27 era in 21 and a third innings pitched this season. He has 24 strikeouts, but even more remarkabale is that Bailey has only given up 6 hits all season.

"He continues to be impressive. He throws strikes and has multiple pitches," said A's manager Bob Geren when asked about Bailey. "I feel comfortable bringing him in any time, which is a big boost."

Bailey recorded his first career save last friday in a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays, doing it old fashioned style with two innings of shutout baseball. He wasn't originally planned to work the two innings, but Bailey was so effective in the 8th, the choice as to whether or not to send him out again for the 9th was a no brainer. Bailey faced the minimum number of batters, allowing no hits, striking out two, and only threw 20 pitches.

Not too bad. The closers role may be where Bailey's future lies. Brad Ziegler doesn't project as a long term closer and most expected him to lose the role to Joey Devine as the season progressed. If Bailey keeps performing like he has been, he may once again force Bob Geren's hand and require the A's to make the switch.

Regardless of where he ends up, he has helped shape the A's bullpen into the best in the majors. While the A's have gotten off to a slow start in 2009, they still show signs of improving and as their young stars continue to develop, this teams future looks bright.

Posted on: March 6, 2009 4:10 am

Warning: World Baseball Classic is Here

Well...The World Baseball Classic has finally started again and while the concept of the tourney is a great and all, I don't really think it's fair to the MLB teams involved. The tournament requires players to perform at a high level early on in the season and many aren't prepared. If your team has a pitcher pitching in this tournament, look out. Things haven't faired well for them during the 2006 year.

Notable Pitchers from 2006 World Baseball Classic and Their Performance in 2006:

  • COL - Brian Fuentes posts highest era he's had in past 4 seasons
  • DET - Todd Jones era doubles from the previous season
  • HOU - Brad Lidge posts 5.28 era, worst of his career
  • WAS - Gary Majewski injures arm, hasn't posted era under 6 since
  • SD - Jake Peavy has era above 4, the only time he's done so since 2003
  • FLA - Dontrelle Willis loses his control and becomes league leader in walks
  • BAL - Adam Loewen blows out his arm, now he can't pitch anymore and is converting to an OF
  • ATL - Chris Reitsma posts a career high era of 8.6, hasn't made it back to big leagues since
  • WAS - Luis Ayala injures arm in tourney, has to get Tommy John surgery and sit out 2006 season
  • OAK - Esteban Loaiza suffers injury shortened season. Has never recovered since.
  • BAL - Rodrigo Lopez suffers career worst era. Was last seen pitching in Single-A
  • STL - Ricardo Rincon suffers season ending surgery. Has never recovered.
  • SEA - Joel Pineiro has worst season of his career causing Seattle to let him walk
  • LAA - J.C. Romero posts a career worst 6.70 era with the Angels
  • LAA - Bartolo Colon suffers season ending surgery a year after winning the AL Cy Young award
  • MIN - Francisco Liriano suffers season ending surgery causing him to miss 2007 season
  • LAD - Odalis Perez has 6.20 era, highest of his career
  • BOS - Lenny DiNardo puts up era of 10 in minors and 9 in majors causing Sox to waive him
  • CHC - Carlos Zambrano walks 115 batters, the highest in his career
  • TOR - Gustavo Chacin suffers season ending injury, hasn't been the same since

Still want to see your pitcher in the tourney? As an A's fan, I was upset at the simple fact that Brad Ziegler threw more than an inning of relief the other day in an exhibition game against the Yankees.......So who are the victims gonna be this season? Ziegler? Putz? Oswalt? Peavy again?.....It could be anybody.

This tournament frustrates me beyond belief.

Brad Ziegler pitched 1.2 innings of shutout baseball in an exhibition game against the Yankees.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com